When you are contemplating about launching a SaaS product, you may have many questions running through your mind.
With some research, you will find lots of information on how to launch a SaaS product. But, people often don’t mention in their articles, the pitfalls one may face in launching their product. These issues may arise from various sides before, during and after the launch. One doesn’t learn about it at the college or in theories, usually, one learns with experience & practice.
Since launching a SaaS product comes with several risks and pitfalls that can pull the entire project down, here is a short list of mistakes to avoid.
For SaaS companies, every launch is not a big-time launch. With regular releases, it’s more about re-communicating your idea or thinking about new ways to package your product to the market. So, as you prepare for your next launch, whether big or small it makes sense to make sure that you’re avoiding the following pitfalls.
#1 – Marketing without Targeting
Most of the people are so excited about an idea, or an issue they can solve, that they focus only on the technology part and making sure that they develop the perfect code. And when the product is ready, after that they build a website and try to figure out some sort of marketing plan and wait to attract the people automatically, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way always. As time goes by, maybe there are few sales here and there, but nothing remarkable may happen.
So, it is very critical to determine your target market in first place. If not then, it is just an exercise of shooting in the dark. Hence, find out space where you can position your product, research and know your target audience, understand their needs, requirements and consumer behavior. This may not seem important when you are deep dived into translating your idea into a product having amazing features, but not even the best product and its updates can go successfully without well-designed marketing approach, in parallel.
Again, it is important to find out how to build an audience on your own. For an e.g. starting a blog before you have a product or even an idea launched, will fetch amazing results. You can make your product already in customer’s TOMA ( Top Of the Mind Awareness).
#2 – Did you miss your launch duration?
Launching a SaaS product too early or late can decide the fate of the product. If you launch just keeping in mind the time and not about whether the software or the system is ready, then there is a risk involved of rolling out a substandard product which may fail to meet the customer’s expectations or match that of the competitors. Hence, may have to face either the failure or further updates, which can delay the product to stand out in the market and your place is taken by your competitor.
Hence, it is critical for you to ensure that you make sure that you don’t undermine customer experience for the sake of meeting your original launch date. It’s not worth it.
#3 – Insufficient pricing information
The pricing of the SaaS product is relative. In fact, ideally, it should be based on how broad the audience your product may serve or is serving. And even how much unique is the product’s USP.
What can go wrong with pricing?
No pricing pages
Many companies either don’t have a pricing page or it is with a lot of ambiguity.
If your aim is growth, then it is in the best interest to give data and information which people usually want, like the price of your product.
Having Only One Price
The simple pricing structure is good, but it should give clarity to the people who visit your site to buy. If there is only one price and if that does not fit into an organization/enterprise budget, then it’s your loss. Hence, pricing structure consists of two to four price points to gain enterprises with a different budget.
Having Too Many Price Options
Again, too many prices confuse the buyer or spoil with options. Hence, only you can devise a proper pricing structure based on your product, demand, and texture of the audience. And this takes time and efforts. Different SaaS companies follow different pricing structures like some of them provide monthly/quarterly/annual options and including customized pricing.
#4 – Unsystematic (No documentation) Sales Processes
Have a well-formulated on-boarding process
Before launching a SaaS product, one needs to have a well-designed game plan for its sales-ready. Otherwise, it ends up nowhere. As, when the customers buy your product, they are shelling out some sizeable money, hence, they will expect a clear process of how to use the product. Hence it is required to have a user manual, and if possible tutorials, case studies, and FAQs, ready before launch. It may not work to sell the product only with the assumptions that customers will eventually themselves learn how to set it up and use it.
Further, if visitors have liked your product and expressed their further interest and is into your lead funnel, they have probably reached a point of making a decision. This is the point at which they have clicked the demo CTA, or even in conversation with your reps.
There are mistakes which may happen like for e.g.
Focused sales pitch helps in bringing quality leads. If the pitch is very generic, it may end up in bulk traffic which mainly consists of irrelevant leads and hence chances of conversions will be lower than expected.
Some of the reps’ habits, sometimes end up in high-pressure pitch. Some sales’ reps end up in fast and misleading conversations leading to false information sharing or promises with no documentation. In such cases, prospects may not get converted into customers, and if they, then will not stick around for long.
Hence, the focus should be on developing sales habits and documenting the process of your sales team to avoid unnecessary pressure.
It’s the age of digital revolution, so, some of the buyers are quite quick to show their interest in the product, but on another hand, your sales reps may not be ready with the required material or the supporting information for educating the self as well as the prospects.
Thus, what all things to take care of –
1. List of the target segments to give the right people the right info?
2.What may probable questions prospects ask reps?
3.Could answers to these questions backed with a good piece of content?
An honest assessment of your current content will tell you if you need to make more data available to your leads to better qualify them for sales.
#5 – Not adequate human resource
Don’t consider doing everything by yourself, it is better to stick to do what we are best at and leave else to the experts. Often outsourcing is a good option for those teams may have better experience to build a SaaS product.
#6 – Underestimating your time.
At least a week or two should be dedicated after the launch of the product to handle initial customer support, fine-tune the unavoidable problems customers will encounter, and updating the product as required.
#7 – Poor Customer Service
It is very important to have consistently good customer service, as that is one of the most critical deciding factors for the customers to continue with your product month on month or year on year. It is believed that if the customer service is dissatisfactory, it reaches faster than praise for a good service.
Growth is continuously about getting new users. It becomes a fixation and if not kept in focus, then it can negatively impact your existing customer base as well. It is critical to measure the churn frequently, if quite a lot of people are leaving or not continuing then it is not a good sign. Hence keeping customers satisfied and handling their queries and taking care of their issues, should be given priority.
When do customers stop using your product?
In the early stage of the product lifecycle, there are bound to be some obvious problems with the product and that is fine. But failing to address those issues is definitely not a good sign. Hence with Agile/Scrum development process, the issues should be dealt quickly iteratively to avoid customers going away and keeping them happy with your product and customer service.
Reduced Communication Post-Sale
Have an after sales relationship management with the clients
You have a perfect pitch, your pricing is exactly set right, you are consistently updating your software, and your business is doing well. But, Then, suddenly something new from the competitor, which happens to be your niche area, comes along. It may happen that this something new is addressing your customer requirements in a better way and gets wooed by their sales and becomes their client. Thus, the point here is, conversation matters a lot in client relationships. Enduring the conversation has an influence on the lifetime value of your customers in terms of their permanency with their initial purchase and the ability for add-on sales in the future.
They say experience is nothing but our summary of mistakes done. Hence, mistakes are a good thing, but only till we learn from them. We tried to bring to you this topic to help you avoid some of the agonies of SaaS product launch, and correct the obvious issues to allow for your growth.
Nema Buch is a Research & Marketing professional, also writes for Scalefusion on Enterprise Mobility trends, SaaS, and different Industry Verticals.